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Prewave raises seven-figure seed funding round

  • Prewave uses artificial intelligence to detect risks in industrial supply chains at an early stage
  • Demand has risen sharply as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Prewave’s Coronavirus Disruption Map reveals disruptions in virus hotspots
  • The seed financing round, led by aws Gründerfonds, with co-investors seed & speed, Segnalita and Ventech alongside existing investors IST Cube and Speedinvest, will fund additional platform development and international expansion to meet growing demand

16 June 2020, Vienna: Austrian startup Prewave has closed a seven-figure investment round to scale its artificial intelligence software that helps industrial companies identify risks in their supply chains automatically and early, using public information. This helps businesses tackle possible supply bottlenecks and production stops before they happen.

For example, early in January 2020, Prewave identified an increased risk of supply difficulties in China and integrated this risk category into its system. This evolved into a Coronavirus Disruption Map, showing risks due to employee infections, quarantine measures, short-time work, plant closures or other supply bottlenecks across Austria and Germany.

Due to the current high demand for reliable information, Prewave has made the Coronavirus Disruption Map available publicly and free of charge. Manufacturing businesses in the automotive, chemical, metal and electronics industries, as well as large transport and logistics companies, now depend on this information advantage to mitigate the drastic and costly consequences of interruptions in their supply chains.

Lisa Smith, founder of Prewave, which was spun out of Vienna University of Technology in 2017, says: “The current crisis highlights how industrial companies need constant updates about the state of their supply chain. Without Prewave’s algorithms, supply chains are muddled by an abundance of information sources and a diversity of languages. Prewave cuts through the noise to provide transparency and clarity.”

Prewave makes supply chains more transparent, sustainable and resilient

Using machine learning and automatic speech recognition, the Prewave platform continuously trains its proprietary algorithm to identify signals as risks from text in multiple languages, using publicly available sources such as social media to make qualitative factors measurable in real time. This is a critical step in optimizing supply chain management. Thanks to the resulting transparency around product origins and manufacturing circumstances, entrepreneurs can make more informed decisions.

Harald Nitschinger, co-founder of Prewave says: “Global supply chains are fragile, but the current crisis has made both industrial leaders and the general population realise the importance of functioning supply chains. Now stronger than ever, we are using technology to make supply chains more resilient, transparent and sustainable.”

Laying the foundation for further growth

Prewave’s core team of 10 is working constantly to improve the platform’s predictive power. Today, the algorithm identifies more than 60 different risk categories (such as natural disasters, strikes, fires, or border closures) from information in more than 50 languages, simultaneously sourcing, processing, and classifying data.

Prewave’s fresh funding will allow for further development of the platform, expanding data sources, risk fields, data volume, and the speed of data processing. It will scale to meet growing demand for the Prewave solution in new international markets, and in sectors like banking, insurance, and in NGOs. Prewave will hire additional employees for development, marketing, and sales.

Ralf Kunzmann, Managing Director of aws Gründerfonds, says: “Recent global developments have clearly demonstrated the need for digitalization across whole industries. Companies with international suppliers are not always aware of potential risk factors due to lack of reliable information about their supply chains. Prewave provides an early warning system to these companies to enable more transparent and resilient supply chain management. Together with our co-investors, it is important for us to support the Prewave team to successfully scale up on a global level.”

Stephan Wirries, Partner at Ventech, Alexander Kölpin, Managing Director at seed & speed, and Bernhard Letzner, partner and Managing Director at Segnalita Ventures GmbH agree: “We are grateful to support Lisa and Harald in scaling Prewave. The company caught our attention with its unique approach to bringing supply chain risk management to the next level: leveraging A.I. for global market coverage and engaging its customer base with a social network-esque platform for amplified impact. We believe that Prewave is the solution to a global cry for resilient, transparent and sustainable supply chains. We are thankful for the opportunity to help tailor this unique solution for supply chains to international markets.”

Florian Resch, Partner at IST Cube says: “Dense networks and interdependence in global supply chains pose systemic risks – Prewave has recognized this and offers its customers valuable, actionable insights. We are impressed by the positive development of the team under the leadership of Lisa and Harald and are happy to support the next steps together with a strong investor base.”

For more information, contact Martin SFP Bryant at Big Revolution: martin@bigrevolution.net

About Prewave GmbH: Prewave’s technology is based on five years of doctoral research by Lisa Smith at the Vienna University of Technology and was founded by her and Harald Nitschinger as a spin-out in 2017. The platform was launched in 2019 and now uses artificial intelligence to analyse huge amounts of data from news media, social media and industry partners in over 50 languages. Together with their team, the two are continuously developing the technology to make the software tool more suitable for the global supply-chain management market. https://www.prewave.ai/

About aws Gründerfonds: aws Gründerfonds is Austria’s most active venture capital fund with around EUR 70 m under management. The fund invests during the later seed and series A/B phases of highly scalable Austrian technology start-ups. Co-investors from our international network are actively involved. aws Gründerfonds sees itself as a long-term, stable partner and offers entrepreneurial venture capital with active support. To date, together with co-investors, aws Gründerfonds has invested more than EUR 290m in 34 portfolio companies and has successfully completed numerous exits. www.gruenderfonds.at

About Seed & Speed Ventures: seed & speed Ventures is an early stage investor based in Berlin that invests in innovative digital business models and new software technologies in the B2B and B2C sector in Europe. Founded by Carsten Maschmeyer, seed + speed Ventures offers innovative start-ups smart capital and on top of the investment a first package of unique sales support. Our portfolio companies get access to a team of highly experienced sales professionals, who actively help to build and optimize efficient sales organizations. https://www.seedandspeed.com/de/

About Segnalita Ventures GmbH: Based on the entrepreneurial legacy of Gernot Langes-Swarovski and the vision of creating sustainable long-term value, Segnalita supports companies in their early stages with capital coupled with broad expertise and a strong network of strategic partners. https://www.segnalita.com/

About Ventech: Ventech is a leading Seed & Series A-focused global venture capital firm. Founded in 1998, Ventech backs the most innovative and globally ambitious digital technol-ogy entrepreneurs. With its dual structure platform, Ventech has dedicated funds for Europe (from Paris, Munich & Helsinki) and Asia (from Shanghai and Hong Kong). With over $700m under management, Ventech has made 200+ investments (Believe, Botify, Freespee, Ogury, Picanova, Speexx, & Vestiaire Collective) and 80+ exits (Webedia, Curse, StickyADS.tv and Withings) since its founding. http://www.ventechvc.com/

About IST Cube: IST Cube is a seed fund focusing on deep-tech and science-related start-ups and spin-offs. The fund supports innovative companies with equity, know-how and network. In addition, the fund has a strong partner in the Institute of Science and Technology Austria, which provides access to scientific infrastructure. https://ist-cube.com/about/

About Speedinvest: Speedinvest is a European venture capital fund with €400M+ AUM and more than 40 investment professionals working from Berlin, London, Munich, Paris, Vienna and San Francisco. Employing a sector-focused investment structure, we fund innovative early-stage technology startups in the areas of Fintech, Digital Health, Consumer Tech, Network Effects, Deep Tech and Industrial Tech. Speedinvest actively deploys its global network and dedicated team of more than 20, in-house operational experts to support our 150+ portfolio companies, including with US market expansion. Learn more: www.speedinvest.com

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